Mike Wade | An Unraveled Tribute

Today, we honor our own Mike Wade, one of the many veterans who dedicated their lives for the rest of us.  We are filled with gratitude and humility by the sacrifice of men and women like him, along with their families.  It is no small task to live apart from your loved ones, face uncertainty daily and witness peril in others’ lives.  So, from the bottom of our hearts, Mike, THANK YOU.

Mike is on staff with the Unraveled Team, as our lead IT and student support person, and we feel beyond blessed to have him beside us. His tech knowledge-base and willingness to help others in unparalleled, so it was a no-brainer to ask him to develop his very own Lightroom Workshop, which will be released on November 13 and begins on January 14th!

Click HERE to learn more about his upcoming workshop.




Can you give us a brief synopsis of when you served and where?

I joined the US Navy in 2000 and served 10 years. During that time, I deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007. Most of my time not deployed was spent in Hawaii. Upon my separation from service, I joined the Defense Contracting sector and worked in Iraq and Afghanistan before moving back to Texas to support the US Army. I continue to work as a contractor for the US Air Force now.

Have you always had a pull toward photography, even while serving?

Unfortunately, I didn't start photography until I was out of the military but looking back, I feel like I had the bug back then but failed to acknowledge it. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to history and specifically military history. I think it would be a safe assumption to say that my photography roots were first inspired by the photojournalism and documentary work that I have enjoyed watching since I was a kid.

Do you think your time serving and overseas had an impact on your art now, and how you feel about documenting life?

I do think that it has impacted me to certain extent. I really wish that I would have documented my time while deployed. You learn a lot about yourself when you are deployed to a dangerous region. One of the things that is always on your mind is the potential of bodily harm. I think my time deployed has made me a little more sensitive to that and motivates me to document my life and family.

Is there anything you miss about active-duty life?

One of the best things about being in the military is the comradery that you build with other service members. I also miss knowing what I going to wear to work every day.

When you look at images of your time in the service, how do they make you feel?

Proud. I don't have a ton of photographs from my time in the military but the ones I do have are very meaningful to me. I look forward to the showing them to my children when they are older.

What you do want your kids to know, when they look at these images, both now and in the future?

I want them to know about the sacrifice that others have made for them. We have a pretty unique military system and I think it is often overlooked. All service members (apart from members drafted during a time of war) are volunteers. If you think about it, that’s a pretty amazing thing. People volunteer to potentially die for our country and citizens.

What does 2019 look like for you, creatively?

This is super tough!!! I'm always thinking about projects that will help me grow as a photographer. This past February I committed to shooting only black and white photography and I saw so much growth. I'm thinking that I will continue to challenge myself with something new each month of the coming year.

Do you have any personal projects you are working on?

I have a project that I really want to revitalize in 2019 called "Clerks". Fingers crossed.

Coleen HodgesComment